Doing stigma: Online commenting around weight-related news media

Brooker, Phillip, Barnett, Julie, Vines, John, Lawson, Shaun, Feltwell, Tom and Long, Kiel (2017) Doing stigma: Online commenting around weight-related news media. New Media & Society. ISSN 1461-4448

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Weight stigma results from the mediatisation of ‘obesity’: conceptually, a medicalised problem resulting from personal bodily irresponsibility. We undertake a frame analysis of 1452 comments on a thematically related online news article published via The Guardian, about the status of ‘obesity’ as a disability in European Union (EU) employment law. We identify three themes: (1) weight as a lifestyle choice or disability, (2) weight as an irresponsible choice and (3) weight as a simple or complex issue. We contend that the design of the commenting platform prevents counter-narratives from challenging the dominant (‘obesity’) framing for three reasons: (1) content is driven by comments appearing earlier in the corpus, (2) the commenting system primarily supports argument between polarised rhetorical positions and (3) the platform design discourages users from developing alternative terminologies for producing counter-narratives. In this way, we explore how weight stigma is propagated through online media, and how users’ comments intersect with the affordances of the platform itself.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fatness, obesity, online news commentary, socio-political discourse, weight stigma
Subjects: L300 Sociology
P300 Media studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Computer and Information Sciences
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2018 11:51
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2018 11:53

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